Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

How stupid do they think we are?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanFebruary 13, 2010 11:50 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Over at SlateJack Shafer talks about Gerald Posner's plagiarism. Weirdly Posner seems to be positing an "efficient markets" model of why he couldn't be a plagiarist:

Clearly, if I were a serial plagiarizer, I would have scanned my own drafts with such [plagiarism detection] software before submitting to the Beast.

The Ben Domenech case actually shows that yes, internet-age plagiarists can be pathologically dumb. There are plenty of cases of small-time plagiarists; my friend Randall Parker of FuturePundit was pointed to another blogger who was copying his posts almost verbatim. Small potatoes. But if you're a professional journalist,

you're going to get caught if you have any prominence if people can compare the text on the internet.

I think catching people plagiarizing like this is a good sign that there are some mental peculiarities at work here; cognitive biases if you will. This isn't cheating on college papers, unethical as it is, this is being unethical for short-term gains when there's a very high probability that you'll be caught and humiliated in public in the long -term.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In